Government’s Division of Culture is urging stakeholders, relevant associations and other interested persons to obtain copies of the draft Preservation of Antiquities and Relics Bill, peruse it and make suggestions to the Division on how it can be improved.
The Bill is now available at the Division of Culture and Sports, Warrens Office Complex, St. Michael, and the National Cultural Foundation, West Terrace, St. James.
A consultation is currently being planned by the Division to give the public another forum to share their views on the legislation. Divers, those persons who own or work at construction firms and museums, as well as those who are members of the Barbados National Trust, the Property Developers Association, or the Barbados Association of Valuers and Auctioneers or any other persons interested in protecting the island’s tangible heritage, are especially invited to attend the discussions at a venue and time to be announced.
Government is currently reviewing the Bill after some concerns were expressed that it could permit the unconstitutional acquisition of heirlooms by the Crown. However, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Shirley Farnum, explained that "the true intent is to prevent the illicit export of or trade in items of Barbadian cultural value".
Ms. Farnum said the UNESCO Convention provided for such protection as well as for the recovery and return to their rightful owners of any such illegally exported goods.
Barbados’ cultural artifacts have greatly contributed to the development of its national identity and provided critical clues to the country’s cultural, economic, and social history, especially in relation to the lives of the island’s original inhabitants. As such, there is growing concern for the protection and preservation of various aspects of the country’s cultural heritage.